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Complexities of 1120 and Form 966

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Complexities of 1120 Short-Year Final Returns and Form 966: Expert Guidance

Managing the tax obligations of the companies can be particularly complex and often overwhelming when dealing with specific filings like the 1120 short-year final return and Form 966. These obligations are necessitated by certain business changes. As Dimov Tax & CPA Services, our commitment to providing meticulous and comprehensive tax services ensures that these important tasks are handled with the utmost precision. The summary of this article can be listed as below:

  1. The essential aspects of these forms are delved into.
  2. The regulatory frameworks are elucidated.
  3. The entities that are obliged to file them are identified.
  4. The steps involved in the filing process are described.
  5. The specialized services offered to facilitate these requirements are discussed.

Understanding 1120 Short-Year Final Return and Form 966

1120 Short-Year Final Return

The 1120 short-year final return is a tax document required by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) when a corporation decides to change its tax year or when it terminates its existence. This form is used to report the income, gains, losses, deductions and credits up to the date of cessation or change. This type of return is governed under the provisions applicable to U.S. corporate income tax returns, tailored to capture the financial activities of the corporation for the shortened fiscal period.

Form 966

Form 966, “Corporate Dissolution or Liquidation,” is also filed with the IRS, mandated when a corporation undergoes complete or partial dissolution or liquidation. It is regulated under the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) Section 6043(a) and stipulates reporting any corporate liquidations to the IRS. This form is an essential part of compliance and ensures that corporate activities are transparent and properly monitored by tax authorities.


1120 Short-Year Final Return

The filing of a short-year final return should be performed by:

  • Corporations that dissolve before the end of what would have been their normal tax year.
  • Corporations changing their accounting period.
  • Corporations that have undergone a significant change in structure, such as mergers or acquisitions which lead to a new tax year designation.

Form 966 

Filing of Form 966 is required by:

  • Corporations in the process of dissolution.
  • Corporations undergoing complete or partial liquidation.

It should be noted that even if the liquidation is part of a plan that will take more than one year to complete, the initial filing must still be performed within 30 days of the resolution or plan’s adoption.

Step-by-Step Process 

1120 Short-Year Final Return

  1. Eligibility: The criteria for filing a short-year return must be met by the corporation.
  2. Financial Information: All relevant financial data for the period from the start of the short tax year to the change or termination date should be collected.
  3. Appropriate Forms: Form 1120 should be filled out, ensuring that the “Final Return” box is checked or the specific changes are noted if the tax year is being adjusted.
  4. Tax Due: The income tax liability for the shortened period should be determined based on the corporation’s income, deductions and credits.
  5. File the Return: The completed Form 1120 should be submitted to the IRS by the 15th day of the fourth month following the end of the short tax year and it should be ensured that all necessary schedules and documentation are attached.
  6. Payment: It should be ensured that any tax liability calculated is paid by the filing deadline to avoid penalties and interest.

Form 966

The process for filing Form 966 involves several systematic steps:

  1. Adoption of the Resolution or Plan: The form must be filed within 30 days after a resolution or plan of complete or partial liquidation is adopted.
  2. Completion of the Form: Information about the corporation including its name, address and the IRS Employer Identification Number (EIN), should be provided. Details of the resolution or plan must also be included.
  3. Submission: Once completed, Form 966 should be submitted to the IRS. If any amendments are made to the initial plan or resolution, these changes must be reported as well.

Both forms discussed share similarities in that they are required to be filed with the Internal Revenue Service as part of the federal tax obligations of a corporation. They are particularly utilized in situations involving significant changes in a corporation’s status or operations such as cessation, dissolution or changes in the tax accounting period. Additionally, filing these forms is mandatory for compliance with U.S. tax laws. Failure to properly file can lead to penalties and complications with the IRS, underscoring the importance of adhering to these requirements.


  • Purpose
    • 1120 Short-Year Final Return: This form is used by corporations that need to file a tax return for a tax year that is shorter than the usual 12 months. This situation typically arises when a corporation either changes its tax year or terminates its business before the end of its previously established tax year.
    • Form 966: This form specifically deals with the formal dissolution or liquidation of a corporation. It must be filed when a corporation decides to dissolve itself or completely liquidate and it notifies the IRS of the intent to cease operations and settle corporate tax obligations.
  • Filing Trigger
      • 1120 Short-Year Final Return: Triggered by changes in the tax year or the early termination of business operations.
      • Form 966: Triggered by a board resolution to dissolve the corporation or fully liquidate its assets.
  • Content
    • 1120 Short-Year Final Return: This form includes financial details such as income, deductions, gains, losses and credits for the short-year period.
    • Form 966: Requires basic corporate information, the date of the resolution or plan of liquidation and may require attachments such as copies of the resolution to dissolve and the plan of liquidation.


The connection between the 1120 Short-Year Final Return and Form 966 often manifests when a corporation decides to dissolve. In such cases:

  • Form 966 would be filed to notify the IRS of the dissolution plan and timeline.
  • 1120 Short-Year Final Return would subsequently be required to cover the tax implications of the corporation’s final period of activity, reporting all taxable events and positions up until the business officially ceases.

Thus, while both forms are related to periods of significant change for a corporation, they serve different but complementary purposes in ensuring that the corporation meets its final tax obligations and formally concludes its operations with the IRS. This orderly process helps in the clear and efficient winding down of corporate affairs.

Dimov Tax & CPA Services

At Dimov Tax & CPA Services, we offer a range of services tailored to assist corporations in efficiently managing and fulfilling their obligations related to the 1120 short-year final return and Form 966:

  • Preparation and Review: Ensuring that all information is accurately reported and in compliance with IRS regulations.
  • Strategic Planning: Guidance on the timing and implications of business changes to optimize tax outcomes.
  • Filing Assistance: Handling the submission of forms to the IRS, including electronic filing options.
  • Resolution of Discrepancies: Assistance in resolving any issues or audits that arise from the filing of these forms.


Handling the specifics of corporate tax obligations, such as the 1120 short-year final return and Form 966, requires close attention to detail and a deep understanding of tax laws. As Dimov Tax experienced professionals, we pride ourselves on our expertise and dedication to ensuring that your tax filings are prepared with precision and care. We can help you handle these complexities and confirm your business meets all the legal standards required.

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